MPs Table Climate Emergency Bill

By Paul Homewood


The Loonies have taken over!



That this House expresses profound alarm at the climate and ecological emergency, with wildfires raging in California, and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica melting in line with worst case scenario predictions for sea level rise according to a study by the University of Leeds and the Danish Meteorological Institute; acknowledges that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are needed in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C; is concerned that the target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 in the 2008 Climate Change Act has been overtaken by the accelerating crisis; welcomes the presentation of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, formally known as the Climate and Ecology Bill; notes that it would ensure that the UK plays its fair and proper role in limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C, by taking account of the UK’s entire carbon footprint, including consumption emissions released overseas as a result of goods manufactured abroad for use in the UK; further notes that it would actively improve the natural world by protecting and restoring the UK’s ecosystems, and ending the damage to nature caused by supply chains; highlights that the Bill establishes a Citizens’ Assembly to recommend measures for inclusion in a new Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy; and calls on the Government to support the Bill to increase the ambition of the UK’s climate legislation and demonstrate real climate leadership ahead of co-hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in 2021.


The Early Day Motion has been signed by 22 MPs.

We can safely leave aside the froth about wildfires and ice sheets. And we already know why they want a climate assembly, which will be used to brainwash and bully a set of naive people, so as to bypass proper democratic processes.

But what did strike me was this comment:

including consumption emissions released overseas as a result of goods manufactured abroad for use in the UK

It has long been a demand of the eco extremists, such as the Tyndall Centre, but what would be the impact?

A study last year from the ONS gives us a clue:




But let’s start from the start.


The ONS show how GDP and carbon dioxide emissions started to decouple around 1985:


The switch from coal to gas certainly impacted on emissions in the early years, with renewables chipping in during the last decade or so.

However, the key factor in the decoupling has been the decline of manufacturing industry and its replacement by a low energy intensive, service based economy.


However, we still want to buy all of those manufactured goods, which we no longer produce.

And, surprise surprise (!), when we look at consumption based emissions, these are still as high now as they were in the 1990s:



There appears to be a sharp peak in 2007, followed by a decline, said to be related to the financial crisis.  I don’t buy this argument and don’t trust the figures at that point as I can’t see any logic for the sharp upward spike.

However, the chart proves conclusively that emissions and GDP have not been decoupled, as claimed.

The chart is interactive, so you can click on individual years to read off values. But in the final year of 2015, consumption based emissions were 656 Mt CO2 against 402 Mt for territorial based. So, even if we got rid of all the latter, we would still be 254 Mt of net imported emissions, some two thirds of what is currently accounted for as territorial based.

Which brings us to the $64000 question – what are we supposed to do when we can no longer import any of the goods we currently do? Sure, some of the imports in future from the EU may be “carbon free” in theory, but in reality they will be facing the same self inflicted economic damage as us, making their industry ever more uncompetitive.

Are we going to be able to manufacture all of this stuff ourselves? This seems hardly likely. What about all of the solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and rare earths we will need to power our new renewable future? Or the food we need? Or the oil we will still need for production of chemicals and plastics?

In reality, a total ban on imports from “undesirable” countries could only lead to wartime like shortages.

And then there is the issue of cost. Whatever you think about the offshoring of our manufacturing sector, it has undoubtedly led to a drastic fall in prices. Do we really want to swap all of the benefits of global trade for a costly and inefficient siege economy?

There is also the question of how all of this is going to be implemented in the interim. Will there need to be quotas on imports from China, for instance, as zero emissions are phased in? Will companies need special permits to import from such countries. Or will punitive import duties need to be raised (all of which I suspect would be a breach of WTO rules).

Any such action, in any event, would inevitably bring retaliation from China, which would be highly damaging to our export trade.


At the end of the day, one thing seems certain. China, India and the rest of developing world in Asia, Africa and S America won’t be going zero carbon any time soon. And there is a very good reason for this. Far from the myths propagated by the green lobby, globally there is still a strong coupling between emissions and GDP:



There is simply no way the developing world is going to deny their citizens the benefits of fossil fuels.

If we carry on down this route, both the UK and EU will end up becoming minor players on the world stage. And there is a very real risk that China will become the dominant player.


September 6, 2020 at 06:48AM

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